Ten Songs for Labor Day

As holidays go, Labor Day is rooted in more controversial subject matter than, say, your average patriotic celebration. The labor movement may be on life support these days but it was an integral part of how the modern industrial society evolved, and the plight of workers and search for rights inspired many great protest songs:

1. One of the first non-vintage acts I remember hearing singing these kind of songs was Billy Bragg, here’s “There is Power in a Union”

2.From there it’s easy to trace directly back to Pete Seeger, here’s “Which Side Are You On”:

3. Peter, Paul, and Mary were one of the biggest protest/folk acts of the 1960s: “If I Had a Hammer”

4. Woody Guthrie is one of the originals and still one of the best for songs like this: “All You Fascists”:

5. Tom Morello started making modern protest music with Rage Against the Machine, his The Nightwatchman project digs into past protest song history with “Union Song”

6: Here’s one that’s specific to the mining industry, in an Irish version by Ewan McColl, “Four Pence A Day”

7. Dropkick Murphys show that one can rock while protesting: “Worker’s Song”

8. James McMurtry wrote one of the best protest songs of the past few decades with, “We Can’t Make it Here”

9. Found this newly written pro-union tune on Youtube, composed for the recent Wisconsin teacher’s union protests:

10. Lisa Simpson, Union Strike Song (this one’s just to see if you read this far down…)

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